Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day fourteen! And at last we’ve reached Tokyo and the hallowed Korakuen Hall!
Today’s show was a full TV show affair, with proper commentary and everything. Gedo was on colour commentary, so I expected to hear some swears in English at some point.
The first match featured the Bullet Club, the poor man’s nWo, with Bad Luck fucking Fale & Tama Tonga taking in David Finlay & Jay White. Erm, this seems a bit unbalanced…
White has less than two years’ experience and is already better than Fale will ever be. Reader, you are already better than Fale will ever be. White started out fast but Fale bulled him over and threw him around. White does this fall into the turnbuckles that looks really ouchy but will shorten his career by a number of years.
Tama Tonga came in and stomped, stomped, stomped. He, too, threw White around and it sucks to be Jay White right now. BUT! White made a comeback with his awesome dropkick and tagged in Finlay! Finlay went back and forth with Tonga, speed against power, and Tonga got a nearfall which White broke up.
Fale got rid of White and Tonga continued the attack on Finlay, finishing him with a Headshrinker DDT for the win. A decent opener, especially considering the presence of Bad Luck Fale.
Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI came out for the next match, representing Chaos against Mascara Dorada & Kota Ibushi. Yano was $hilling a CD. Yeah, me either.
Mascara Dorada started out with YOSHI-HASHI, and took the lucha to him early doors. YOSHI-HASHI, wisely, bailed and Ibushi and Yano tagged in. Ibushi tried to kick Yano, who hid behind the referee, and landed a couple. Yano hit a reverse Atomic Drop, and a catapult into YOSHI-HASHI, and that gave him time to remove the turnbuckle pad, which Ibushi was soon acquainted with.
Chaos tried to keep the heat on Ibushi, but he fought back and made the tag to Mascara Dorada. He scored a quick nearfall on YOSHI-HASHI, and then another after some flip flop flying. Yano came in to break it up, and Ibushi dealt with him, throwing him outside and hitting his quebrada off the turnbuckles onto him on the floor. Meanwhile, Mascara Dorada and YOSHI-HASHI went back and forth, with the Chaos man picking up the win with a top rope senton. Perfectly acceptable professional wrestling.
The third match brought more Bullet Club into play, with AJ Styles, Doc Gallows & Cody Hall out for a six-man. Their opponents – Tetsuya Naito, Captain New Japan & Ryusuke Taguchi – were that odd bunch that only tournaments like the G1 create.
The Bullet Club steamed in before the bell, leaving their opponents lying on the floor. In the ring, Taguchi bummed Styles early doors but the former IWGP champion came back at him, only to be bummed again. Naito tagged in and tagged straight back out again, getting a chop from the Captain for that, and Taguchi was in again, against Gallows this time.
He tried to use his bum but Gallows thumbed him in his bum hole and the Bullet Club took over. They kept the heat on Taguchi (even Hall, who has a new, terrible haircut) until he made a dropkick comeback and tagged in lazy Naito. Naito found some energy and ran wild, until Doc Gallows tripped him from the outside and came in to bull him. Naito took him off his feet and then apathetically tagged out to Captain New Japan.
The Captain, as is his role, got some brief offense in but then found himself triple-teamed by the Bullet Club and pinned by Gallows’s chokebomb. Poor Captain New Japan. Said nobody. Ever. Not unenjoyable, that.
The last match before the interval was a real mixed bag of New Japan stalwarts. Jushin Liger, Togi Makabe & Katsuyori Shibata took on IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan, with a couple of day fifteen G1 matches in the offing from these teams.
Makabe and Tanahashi started out, with Tanahashi trying to ground his beefy opponent as quickly as possible. He foolishly got suckered into a shoulderblock battel, and lost, and Shibata came in. He demanded Tenzan but Tanahashi stayed in.
They did some fast matwork, no-one able to get the advantage, just like their G1 classic yesterday. Shibata kicked Tenzan off the apron and Tenzan tagged in and took it to Shibata.
I just realised that there’ll be no Yohei Komatsu on this show and that makes me sad.
Shibata hit right back, Tenzan eating the low dropkick to the FACE, and then tagged in Makabe. Tenzan knocked Shibata off the apron but Makabe stomped him down and tagged in Liger. Liger tied Tenzan up and tagged Shibata back in, who locked on a Figure Four. Tenzan escaped and managed to tag out to Tanahashi, who used his speed to take down Makabe. Makabe hit back with a power slam and things switched again.
Makabe hit his ten punch deal in the corner and scored a nearfall with a Northern Lights suplex. They traded and Makabe hit a lariat for a double down. They both made tags, to KUSHIDA and Liger, and things went all junior heavyweight. KUSHIDA applied a keylock but Shibata broke it with a sleeper. Tanahashi ran in and hit a Slingblade on Shibata, and Makabe took both Tanahashi & Tenzan down and out of the ring. Liger got a nearfall with a Shotei but KUSHIDA reversed a powerbomb into a leg clutch roll for the win. That was a really fun match!
After the match, Tanahashi and Makabe had words ahead of their G1 match on day fifteen, and then they had the interval. As far as I could tell, there was no raffle, but the TV viewers – well, those who speak Japanese – got a proper half-time show, including Toru Yano $hilling DVDs and a Chaos day out.
The rest of us simply Duggan’d to the second half, where we met by Block B of the G1 tournament, and Michael Elgin versus Karl Elgin. Anderson had Tama Tonga & Doc Gallows out with him, while Elgin just had his sweet robe.
Toru Yano was shown on colour commentary for the second half of the show as Anderson stalled early doors. They finally locked up and Elgin overpowered his fellow gaijin. Elgin hit his stalling suplex, which the crowd love, for a nearfall.
Anderson knocked Elgin out onto the apron, and they fought over the ropes. Anderson hit a Stun Gun on the top rope and then knocked Elgin to the floor, but stayed in the ring rather than going out after him. Elgin made it back in on nineteen. Anderson went back in the attack, trying to take out Elgin’s knee, and scored a nearfall.
He resumed the wear down, stopping to jaw with the crowd, until Elgin used the fans to build a comeback. It was just a hope spot, though, and Anderson got the heat back and scored a nearfall with a powerbomb. He went up top and leaped off, presumably for a double axehandle, but Elgin met him with a kick and took over.
Elgin thumped and kicked Anderson, hitting a Codebreaker from the top rope for a nearfall and a deadlift German suplex. Elgin hit a series of clotheslined but Anderson got a kick in and switched things around, hitting a neckbreaker for a nearfall.
They traded blows and Elgin hit a huge lariat to take Anderson down. Anderson crawled out into the apron but Elgin caught him and hit the inside-out herking suplex for a nearfall. Elgin called for the Elgin Bomb but Anderson backdropped him over. The Bullet Club tried to interfere but Elgin saw them off. This gave Anderson chance to attack Elgin from behind but Elgin fought back and powerbombed Anderson out onto his stablemates (and Jay White). That was cool.
Elgin went out after Anderson and pulled him from the wreckage and threw him back in the ring. He hit a corkscrew senton for a nearfall, and a Buckle Bomb, but Anderson came back with a desperation kick. Elgin hit back and setup the Elgin Bomb but Anderson hit a Stun Gun on his way down for the win. A good match with a great last minute.
Maybe it’s Korakuen Hall, one of my favourite venues in the whole world, but this is a great show so fast. Testing that will be two men whose best years are way behind them, Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata…
Kojima took it to the mat early doors and they traded holds in a basic and pleasing manner. They stood up and went at it, trading forearms and daring the other to lay it in. Kojima went after Nagata’s ribs, keeping the heat on and hitting his tiny chops and shirty elbow drop, which for once looked effective due to Nagata’s selling.
Nagata rolled out onto the floor, where the doctor checked on him, but Kojima came out after him and beat him around ringside. The doctor tried to get Nagata to quit but old pudgy face was having none of it. Kojima returned to the ring and Nagata made it back in on eleven.
Kojima resumed his attack but Nagata FIRED UP! and took him down with a kneelift. He laid in some kicks and tried to hit an Exploder, which Kojima managed to block enough so that Nagata could only hit a side suplex. They traded holds and Kojima hit a DDT and a Koji cutter. He threw the elbow pad away and ran off the ropes but Nagata met him with a knee. They traded again and Kojima tried to hit the lariat, which Nagata transitioned into the Shirome armbar. Kojima wouldn’t tap so Nagata switched it to a cross armbreaker and Kojima made the ropes.
They stood up and Kojima hit a short-arm clothesline for a nearfall, and a brainbuster for another, and the tried to hit the lariat for the finish. Nagata blocked it and hit an Exploder and got the win! It might be Korakuen Hall but that was a great match!
Hey, it’s Yujiro Takahashi! And he has a stripper with him! She’s pretty hot, too, which I suppose is the least you should expect from a stripper. He’s fighting IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada, who has Gedo with him. Gedo is not a stripper but is equally cool.
Takahashi got the heat early on but Okada quickly hit back, taunting Cody Hall on the outside for good measure. He wore Takahashi down, until Takahashi went outside for some kind words from his stripper. Okada joined him out there and got ran into the barriers and suplexed on the floor. Takahashi returned to the ring and distracted Red Shoes while Cody Hall beat on Okada. Gedo came over to help out but he got beat down, too.
Takahashi released Red Shoes, who accused Hall but couldn’t prove nothing, and Takahashi rolled Okada back in the ring for a quick nearfall. He took over, dicking on the champion, while the commentator interviewed the stripper. Good job.
Takahashi threw Okada outside once again and then back in, for no reason other than he could. Then he went back on the wear down, until his dickishness woke Okada up and the comeback was on. Okada hit forearms, a back elbow, and a DDT, and put Takahashi up top, where a high dropkick knocked him to the floor.
Okada went out after Takahashi and returned the favour from earlier, running him into the barriers, and then kicked him over into the crowd. Hall tried to intervene but he got sent into the crowd, too, and Okada took them both down with a crossbody over the barriers. The crowd LOVED that.
Back in the ring, Okada hit a high flapjack and locked on Red Ink, allowing Red Shoes to do his overacting bit. Takahashi bit his way out of the submission and fought back with a big boot and a low dropkick, and they both went down.
Takahashi was first up, and scored a nearfall with a Samoan Drop. He went for Tokyo Pimps but Okada backdropped his way out of it. Takahashi stopped the comeback with a lariat and a Buckle Bomb and then hit Tokyo Pimps for a very, very near fall. Even the stripper was shocked it wasn’t a pin.
Okada got up and hit Heavy Rain, but he was too weak to follow up. He tried for a Tombstone but Takahashi held onto Red Shoe’s belt and blocked it. Unseen by the referee, Cody Hall ran in and knocked Okada down, and then took Gedo off the apron, too. Hall & Takahashi double-teamed Okada and Takahashi brought Red Shoes back into the ring but Okada STILL kicked out! Champion stuff!
Hall got in again and held Okada for Takahashi to run at him but Gedo tripped Takahashi and Okada dumped Hall out of the ring. Okada hit a high dropkick, a Tombstone piledriver, and then called for the Rainmaker, which he hit to win a really good match. This show, eh?
Gedo rejoined the commentary team for the next match, Shinsuke Nakamura versus Tomoaki Honma. Honma hasn’t won a match in two years of G1 and Nakamura is going for the Block B winner’s spot. Tough to call.
Comedy early doors as Nakamura does his usual ropes spot but was reluctant to put his face on Honma’s oily body. He wiped it on Red Shoes’s shirt afterwards. Honma then did his usual start, taking Nakamura down but not going for the headbutt, weirdly, seemingly worried about Nakamura’s jaw.
They went back and forth and Nakamura sent Honma outside with the running knee into the corner. He followed him out and dumped him in the front row and hit a knee lift while Honma was draped over the barriers. Namakura returned to the ring and checked his jaw was still there – it was – and attacked Honma when he came back in. He kicked and scurfed him, knocking him down, and then put on a rear chinlock.
Honma made the ropes to force a break but Nakamura stood on his face and hit a falling kneedrop, mocking his foe in that cool way that only Nakamura can do. He locked on a front facelock and Red Shoes checked on Honma, who fought his way out of it into a deadlift suplex.
The crowd chanted for Honma as they both lay on the mat and it inspired him to get up and miss his headbutt. Nakamura hit back with some kicks, and the vibrating leg thingy, but missed a running knee into the corner. Honma hit a bulldog out of the corner and hit the headbutt! He hit a snap neck for a nearfall.
Nakamura fired back with some knees and kicks and both men went down again, spent. Red Shoes stood with his hands on his hips, stealing that little bit of limelight, and they both got up and fought a forearm battel. Honma hit a slap which enraged Nakamura into hitting the Stereo Mike knees, but Honma blocked Bom A Ye and hit a lariat to switch things around.
Honma hit a brainbuster for a nearfall and must think he’s NEVER going to win in the G1 at this rate. They traded holds and Nakamura hit a knee off the top rope for another double down. Both up, Nakamura hit a kneelift and an axe kick but missed Bom A Ye again and Honma hit a diving headbutt. He hit another falling headbutt and Kokeshi Otoshi for another nearfall and looked as enraged as anyone who had 1000/1 on him winning this.
Looking to end it, Honma went up top, missed his falling headbutt off the top rope, and Nakamura hit a sliding knee for a nearfall. David Finlay could be seen, watching impassionately, at ringside while Nakamura hit a Saito suplex but got hit by a diving headbutt before he could hit Bom A Ye. While Honma was preparing another, Nakamura popped up and hit Bom A Ye for the win. A really fun match. Poor Honma.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Tomohiro Ishii versus Hirooki Goto and I really, really want Ishii to win!
The Tokyo crowd, because they are not idiots, were chanting for Ishii at the bell. They started tentatively, feeling each other out on the ropes, and then Ishii hit a slap which caused Goto to EXPLODE. He hit a spin kick and a senton for a nearfall.
They had a stand-up forearm battel, which went on for ages, and I mean AGES, and Ishii won by introducing a chop to the proceedings, which is kind of cheating. He is a heel, I guess. I really like the cameraman’s t-shirt.
Ishii took over, hitting elbows to the head and acting the dick, which Goto and his stupid trousers did not like. Still, Ishii sent him to the mat with a throat chop and scored a nearfall with a suplex.
Ishii started dicking again and Goto got a bit angry and no-sold it all. He hit back with a forearm which sent Ishii scrabbling and then hit a spin kick into the corner. Ishii fought out of Shouten Kai and hit a side suplex and you don’t see so many people in the crowd wearing those facemasks as you used to.
Ishii took Goto up top and hit a stalling superplex, which only earned a nearfall, and the crowd switched to chanting for Goto. Ishii ran in with a lariat and Goto blocked it. Then Goto ran in with a lariat and Ishii blocked it. Then they both ran and lariated each other. FOUR TIMES. Goto got the better of it and hit a side suplex for a nearfall but Ishii fought out of Ushigoroshi for a German suplex and a double down.
They stood up and had another forearm battel, slower and wearier this time, and exploded into rope-running which ended in Ushigoroshi from Goto. Goto tried to go up top but Ishii grabbed ahold of his foot and wouldn’t let him. Goto eventually kicked Ishii away and went up top but Ishii caught him up there with a headbutt. He set up another superplex but Goto fought out and they had another forearm battel. If Ishii cheated with a chop earlier, Goto’s headbutt was equally rum, but it allowed him to hit a Sunset Bomb for a nearfall.
Goto went right after Ishii from the reset but Ishii came back with a headbutt, and they both went down again. Yano & Gedo on commentary looked like they were glad it wasn’t them in there. Ishii and Goto went back and forth some more, trading heat and nearfalls. Ishii missed Sliding D, but hit Goto’s Ushigoroshi, and THEN hit Sliding D, but only got a nearfall.
He picked Goto up for a brainbuster but Goto fought out of it and took Ishii down with a lariat, collpasing himself from the exertion. Goto was first up and hit a lariat in the corner, and then Ushigoroshi from the top rope for a nearfall. Determined to finish it, he fired up and pulled Ishii to his feet. Ishii fought out of Shouten Kai and headbutted Goto, who lariated back for a nearfall. Finally, Goto picked Ishii up, traded headbutts, and then hit Shouten Kai for the win. A fucking war.
This was a Great Show. I’m not sure whether it was the Tokyo crowd but something clicked and every match was good at least. More Korakuen Hall tomorrow!
Block B Standings: Okada 6-1, Anderson 5-2, Goto 5-2, Nakamura 5-2, Elgin 4-3, Ishii 4-3, Kojima 2-5, Nagata 2-5, Takahashi 2-5, Honma 0-7 (Kojima, Nagata, Takahashi & Honma cannot win Block B)